I just recently watched a Mel Gibson movie called “The Patriot”. It was your basic action movie complete with death and mayhem, but it was one of those movies that is designed to make you feel proud to be an American. I’m not generally a big action movie fan, but I’l admit, I like a little manly romp with swords and guns on occasion. For me to really be into it though, the focus has to be more on heroism and courage and less on blood and guts. All told, decent movie.
There was a small theme that ran through the movie about rocking chairs that really interested me though. You see, Mel’s character is trying to build a rocking chair, and he just can’t seem to get it right. Every time he gets it put together and goes to sit in it, it falls to pieces. This frustrates him to no end. Everywhere he goes, he keeps seeing these rocking chairs and he’s testing them out, studying them, trying to figure out where he is screwing it up. There is this great scene where he is about to parlay with the enemy general, and he doesn’t even notice him come into the room because he is too busy playing around with his rocking chair.
He has put in so much effort, but just can’t seem to get it right.
I had never noticed rocking chairs before this movie, but now I find myself amazed at how elegant they really are. They have to be able to hold the weight of a person from so many different angles, constantly in motion, and yet with just a few spindles to support this. It’s really some rather impressive engineering.
Alright, I’ll get to the point already.
Yes, hard work is necessary to make anything, but to truly make something beautiful, you have to put your heart in as well. Mel’s character is obsessed with making the perfect rocking chair. There is no question that he could put together a good functional chair, but he wants more. He is focused on it.
We see this throughout history as a defining trait of genius. Thomas Edison counted 3000 failures on his way to creating the light bulb. DaVinci would only sleep a few hours, spread out throughout the day so he could focus more time as an artist, architect, sculptor and inventor. They really get obsessed. They are going to figure it out at any personal cost.
Is there anything that you are obsessed about? Is there anything in your life that you truly give your complete focus to? Of course I want you to be a well rounded person, but is there anything you put your whole heart into?